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Missions to Mars

Posted March 28, 2014 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Forty years ago we last stepped foot on the Moon. Currently, with our occupation of the low-Earth orbit international space station, we are space residents. In the visionary Mission to Mars (National Geographic Society, 2013), moon-walker, space advocate, Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, challenges us to take a further step and colonise […]

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How curiosity became transformed

Posted March 2, 2014 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Curiosity; seen as a hazard to society in the classical world, early Christianity condemned it as a sin, and now, in the modern world, it is seen as an essential part of human nature. Somewhere between the late 1500s and 1700s attitudes in Europe changed. The change, according to Phillip Ball in Curiosity, was gradual […]

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Black holes and revelations: Stephen Hawking memoir

Posted February 25, 2014 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Stephen Hawking: My brief history Stephen Hawking’s memoir is a brief amble through his life from early childhood to date. Hawking’s memoir does cut through some of the hype that could surround someone who is “possibly the best-known scientist in the world.” At the same time he presents many of his remembrances with a quaint […]

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Just on 30 years ago I came across an intriguing book, the then relatively unknown Gaia: A new look at life on Earth (OUP 1979) by an ‘independent scientist’, J.E. Lovelock. My earliest impression of it may seem surprising to many people now. I was infuriated. I was infuriated not by Lovelock’s hypothesis per se, […]

            

When a mind goes awry

Posted June 22, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Trouble in Mind (Jenni Ogden, Scribe, $32.95, ISBN 9781922070562, July 2013) I do not think I would be alone in fearing ‘losing my mind’. Even the common expression, “are you out of your mind?” gives solid form to what may seem a merely philosophical train of thought. At any given time most people will declare […]

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Do animals have minds?

Posted April 24, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Animal Wise: the thoughts and emotions of our fellow creatures, by Virginia Morell, Black Inc. Books, 2013. Laughing rats, name-calling wild parrots, archer-fish with a sense of humour, and educated ants; the naturalist Charles Darwin would have loved this book. The philosopher Rene Descartes would equally have found it deeply troubling. Both with good reason. […]

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Ahead of his time: the genius of Nikola Tesla

Posted February 2, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

There is a dominant theme in the life of Nikola Tesla. His undoubted genius. Tesla pioneered, if not invented; AC motors, AC power generation and transmission, high voltage generation (Tesla coil), wireless transmission of power and information, radio controlled boats, cold discharge fluorescent lighting, and the ‘death-ray’. It also meant that he was ahead of […]

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The curious science of life in space

Posted December 31, 2011 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

“Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in space” by Mary Roach 2010 Oneworld Books, Oxford UK, ISBN 978-1-85168-823-4. Reading this book was a little like watching street opera designed by a fifteen year old male.  In street opera you get just the arias – opera with all the boring bits removed.  Or so […]

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Quantum Man: Richard Feynman

Posted November 20, 2011 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s life in science, by Lawrence M Krauss. W. W. Norton, London (2011), ISBN 978-0-393-06471-1. This book is remarkable for three reasons.  The first is the brilliance, character and originality of the physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman.  Second is the true star of the book; the incredible contribution made by Feynman […]

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